What is eCommerce SEO?
eCommerce SEO refers to the process of optimising a website according to the guidelines of search engines (SERPS) so that it’s visible, and ranks higher, in search results. It’s now more important than ever to get your eCommerce website up to scratch with the competition online, with the number of eCommerce stores growing rapidly every day!
If you haven’t already, make SEO the forefront of your business strategies moving forward otherwise face falling behind the competition on your eCommerce store.
10 SEO Best Practices For eCommerce Websites
A wide range of tactics can be used to improve your website eCommerce performance. Ranking on the first page of Google will mean you are in the Top 10 for that search, it is still vitally important to achieving the #1 spot. If your eCommerce website appears in position 1 on the page, it’s predicted you’ll gain approximately 32.5% extra traffic. To help you with this, we’ve listed our 10 best practices for eCommerce websites below.
1. Keyword Research
Keyword research is the foundation of every eCommerce website. It’s extremely important that when search engines crawl your website, they can understand what your products are about so they can display them when someone is searching for what they want.
Targeting the right short-tail keywords allow you to rank in search engines, however, they can be very competitive. Another option would be to concentrate on long-tail keywords, they give you a higher quality of visitors which in turn gives you a higher chance of them purchasing. For example: If you specialise in “jumpers” made from sustainable wool, then a long-tail keyword like ‘sustainable wool jumpers’ would give your eCommerce website a better chance of ranking higher compared to someone who simply searches for “jumpers”.
The reason for this is short-tail keywords tend to also be dominated by larger & more well-established eCommerce websites, so it’s unlikely you’ll get much visibility competing for the same keywords. So switching up your keyword research strategy and going for long-tail keywords will allow you to have less competition & become more visible in searches as opposed to competing for popular shorter keywords.
2. Competitor Research
Not a surprise I’m sure, but don’t underestimate the importance of competitor research. Larger competitors, most likely, have probably already put in the hard work for optimising their website. You should review and explore their site structure, meta data, landing pages, backlinks & from that you will be in a great spot to structure your eCommerce website.
We recommend using free SEO tools like SEMrush or other options to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for on both organic and paid searches. You can also compare your website to your competitor’s side by side to see how you compare and complete a gap analysis to put yourself in the best position to compete.
3. Meta Data
Another common practice would be to optimise your website’s Meta Data. Again, you can have a look at your competitors but do not duplicate, only use them for inspiration. We recommend using the keyword research you did in step 1, see what the most popular search terms are as well as looking for opportunities that haven’t been tapped into yet.
From there, you will be able to split your target audience into segments and categorise the keywords most suited. It’s a good option to look at relevant keyword trends, for example, seasonal trends can rapidly change for different products at different times.
Page titles, meta descriptions, heading and image alt tags are all must-haves when it comes to optimising your eCommerce website to its max. To be able to rank high within search engines, it’s important to remember your content has to appeal to your potential customers as well as be indexable for search engines to rank you correctly.
4. Site Architecture
Now you’ve got your research you are in a fantastic position to have a look at your eCommerce site’s architecture. Search engines such as Google determine your website’s ranking using bots to crawl through pages. From the data, they gain from the crawl they use many complex algorithms based on different factors to decide where you should rank against other competitors.
During the crawl, search engines will navigate through a website by following all the links on it. By doing this, they are trying to see how your website is structured, what it is your website is about, and which pages are deemed important.
Something that the crawlers will look for is link equity as a key ranking factor that describes the authority and value of your links. To increase link equity you can build on your backlink profile, to show search engines that your eCommerce website is a trusted source as many have linked to it in their content.
Website architecture is the structure that your website is organised in, however, there are two different types to this architecture, and these are flat and deep.
A flat structure has many categories, allowing users to reach a product page quickly. Compared to deep structures, which require extra clicks as they have to navigate through fewer main categories. As I’m sure you can see, the layout of the website pages and how they are linked together will determine how your eCommerce customers experience your website. Search engines view user experience as another key factor when it comes to ranking your eCommerce website.
5. Search Intent
In short, search intent is working out the reason why the user has searched for the keyword they have. Google considers a page’s relevance critical to properly serving its users’ motive, so providing them with what they searched for.
To work out search intent you can look at eCommerce Cost-Per-Click (CPC) to determine the demand. In general, the higher number of advertisers bidding for a search term the more it costs. Keywords with high CPC tend to convert better, which are often profit-oriented keywords.
6. Category Landing Pages
As we’ve seen in Google’s most recent algorithm updates, they deem content relevancy a key SEO ranking factor. When it comes to content on category landing pages, less is more. It’s important that eCommerce websites don’t overwhelm shoppers by being specific and clear with their parent categories, instead, use common terminology that users can easily understand easily is best.
Optimising your category landing page filters provides the user with a better experience when the filters are relevant to the shopper’s search. This allows your website to be 100% browsable via only its navigation options.
Concentrating on user experience providing a clear and simple design allows your audience to follow a hierarchy that directs them to an easy checkout. If you can highlight the most important elements of your menu while creating informative content with clear headings- you are 100% onto a winner!
7. Optimising Product Pages
You’ve now optimised your eCommerce website and visitors have now come to your product pages, the goal here is that they find the product they require and purchase it. The visual elements on this page can be key to encourage the user to buy. Having high-quality product images can be a huge factor in this, if you can upload multiple images from different angles as well as a zoom option to give the ultimate user experience.
Often customers like to read the reviews to know that this product can be trusted and fills them with the confidence to buy. This will also make your business look more trustworthy and reliable to future customers.
By optimising your product pages you have an increased chance of driving conversions on your eCommerce website. Product pages are designed for SEO, visitors are likely going to visit these specific pages over your homepage from keyword searches, as they are designed for converting.
8. Responsive Design
Users these days tend to shop on mobile, a responsive website design betters user experience on mobile devices. Google indexes mobile-first, so the design of your eCommerce website should be a priority.
Page loading time is another key factor search engines use for mobile and desktop. Some good ways to reduce page load time are below:
- Remove any plugins or add-ons that don’t contribute to your eCommerce website
- Compress image sizes without reducing the quality
- Choosing a high-performance hosting system
- Cache your web pages regularly
9. FAQ Content
An FAQ page is an area within your eCommerce website where you list down all the frequently asked questions your customers have regarding your business, products/services, policies and processes.
As we found out earlier in this post, customer experience has become the top factor for the success of any eCommerce website. It ensures you’re making your customers happy and satisfied while giving them the information they’ve searched for. FAQ’s can increase website conversions by providing the user with other queries related to your product. This could be anything from its size, the delivery options, as well as a cost-effective solution for your customer service team.
FAQs have a massive impact on SEO. However, it’s important to write the FAQ content in a way that includes how they’re asked on the search engines. By doing this, it can help you boost your product keyword rankings, by providing the user with the information they require to make the product/service purchase.
It’s also worth noting in the upcoming years there will be a huge demand for voice shopping, and voice search is considered as one of the key trending methods as to where a search will take us, so keep an eye out for updates on that!
10. Link Building
Finally, our last SEO best practice for eCommerce websites falls with link building. The key to success here is to get high authority domains linking to your websites, search engines can then understand the value and authority of the link. In short, the higher the authority, the higher search engines will likely rank a page.
There are many methods of link building to be explored and I truly recommend going out there to look for yourself and trial what works for your website.
Now you Know SEO Best Practices for your eCommerce Website…
In conclusion, SEO best practices for eCommerce websites will continue to change and evolve throughout the years with ever-changing algorithm updates, so it’s recommended to keep up to date with any changes to maintain your rankings.
SEO was never designed to be easy, but using the best practices for your eCommerce website will put you in a good position moving forward.